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Tort Law

Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=462

AC37869 - Chicago Title Ins. Co. v. Accurate Title Searches, Inc. (Negligence; "This is an action by the plaintiff, Chicago Title Insurance Company (Chicago Title), to recover damages from the defendant, Accurate Title Searches, Inc., for losses allegedly incurred by Ticor Title Insurance Company (Ticor Title), another title insurer with which the plaintiff later merged, due to the defendant's negligence in performing a title search as to a parcel of real property in Hartford (property). This is an action by the plaintiff, Chicago Title Insurance Company (Chicago Title), to recover damages from the defendant, Accurate Title Searches, Inc., for losses allegedly incurred by Ticor Title Insurance Company (Ticor Title), another title insurer with which the plaintiff later merged, due to the defendant's negligence in performing a title search as to a parcel of real property in Hartford (property)...."

"On the record before us, we agree with the trial court, Bright, J., that the plaintiff’s claim sounds in negligence, not in common-law identification, and thus that the defendant’s arguments as to what proof is required to prevail on a claim for indemnification are inapplicable to this case. On the other hand, we disagree with the trial court, Wiese, J., that the plaintiff’s claim for damages to compensate it for the attorney’s fees and expenses it incurred to defend its insured in prior litigation is barred in this action by the American rule. Accordingly, although we reverse the court’s judgment denying the plaintiff's claim for compensatory damages in the amount of its prior attorney's fees and expenses and remand this case for further proceedings on that claim, we affirm the court’s judgment in all other respects.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=450

AC37681 - Doe v. Rackliffe ("The plaintiffs, James Doe and John Doe, appeal from the order of the trial court denying their motion for continued use of pseudonyms in their underlying civil action against the defendant, Robert Rackliffe, a pediatrician. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred in denying their motion for continued use of pseudonyms (1) by requiring the plaintiffs to present live testimony at an evidentiary hearing as a prerequisite to permitting them to use pseudonyms and (2) because the existing record showed that the plaintiffs had substantial privacy interests in maintaining their anonymity that outweighed the public's interest in knowing the names of the parties. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the order of the trial court.")

AC37857 - Theodore v. Lifeline Systems Co. ("The plaintiff, Diana Theodore, the administratrix of the estate of Catherine Nuckols, commenced the present action sounding in negligence, breach of contract, and products liability against the defendants, Lifeline Systems Company (Lifeline) and VNA Healthcare, Inc. (VNA). The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendants after it granted motions for a directed verdict brought by the defendants. Also, the plaintiff appeals from the court's denial of her motion to set aside the verdict. The plaintiff claims that (1) in ruling on the motions for a directed verdict, the court erroneously concluded that she failed to present evidence sufficient to satisfy the essential element of causation, and (2) the court erroneously precluded certain evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=442

AC38268 - Johnson v. Raffy’s Café I, LLC ("In this wrongful death action, the self-represented defendant, Erick Bennett, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Lubecca Johnson, administratrix of the estate of Willie Brown, Jr. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) denied his motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, (2) denied his motion to set aside a default for failure to plead, and (3) denied his motion for a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37893 - Lamar v. Brevetti ("The plaintiff, Solomon Lamar, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendants, Francis Brevetti, Michael Guglioti, Vernon Riddick, Jr., Fernando Spagnolo, David Janetty (individual defendants) and the city of Waterbury (city). On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly rendered summary judgment with respect to (1) his negligence and recklessness claims against the individual defendants, (2) his negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against Brevetti and (3) his claims against the city pursuant to General Statutes §§ 7-465 and 7-101a. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=430

AC38046 - DeEsso v. Litzie ("In this tort action, the plaintiff, Mitchell DeEsso, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, accepting the jury's verdict and awarding him $5000 in economic damages. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly denied his motions to set aside the verdict and to order additur because: (1) the jury's award of economic damages was contrary to the uncontested evidence of the plaintiff's medical bills and lost wages; and (2) the jury's decision to award zero noneconomic damages was inconsistent with its decision to award $5000 in economic damages. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38414 - Heinonen v. Gupton ("The self-represented plaintiff, Mark Heinonen, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing this action alleging fraud on the part of the defendants, Wallace I. Gupton and Roberta S. Douglas, in connection with their purchase of property located in the town of Sherman. The dispositive claim in this appeal is whether the court improperly dismissed this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to his lack of standing. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=419

AC38538 - Papallo v. Lefebvre (Fiduciary duty; "On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred by concluding that (1) the defendant did not breach his fiduciary duty to the plaintiff through his handling of the LLC revenues; (2) the defendant did not have the intent necessary to be found liable for statutory theft; (3) an accounting was not warranted; and (4) the defendant's conduct did not violate CUTPA. The defendant did not participate in this appeal. We agree with the first claim but disagree with the remaining ones. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=415

AC38284 - Bruno v. The Travelers Companies ("The plaintiff, Lisa Bruno, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendants, The Travelers Companies and The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company, after the court (1) granted the defendants' second motion to strike counts three through nine of the plaintiff's amended complaint on the ground of absolute immunity, and (2) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on counts one and two on the grounds that those counts were brought outside of the two year limitation period contained in the parties' contract of insurance. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court's judgment was improper because (1) 'absolute immunity implicates the court's subject matter jurisdiction,' and, therefore, the court erred in allowing the defendants to raise that issue via a motion to strike, (2) the defendants were not immune to suit on the basis of an absolute privilege, and (3) the plaintiff's claims were not time barred.

"After review, we conclude that the litigation privilege provides an absolute immunity from suit and, thus, implicates the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction. As such, the plaintiff's causes of action against the defendants are barred. We further conclude that the court should have dismissed the plaintiff's original complaint, rather than permit her to replead, after it determined that the doctrine of absolute immunity applied to her entire complaint. Accordingly, the form of judgment is improper, and we, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter with direction to render a judgment of dismissal. ")

AC37965 - PMG Land Associates, L.P. v. Harbour Landing Condominium Assn., Inc. ("The plaintiff, PMG Land Associates, L.P., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants, Harbour Landing Condominium Association, Inc., David Potter, Vincent DeLauro, and Margareth Butterworth. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that the action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=382

AC38636 - Gaetano v. Manley (Constitutional Law; "The plaintiff, Michael Gaetano, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, his claims under the federal and state constitutions, directed at the defendants, current and former Department of Correction employees Kevin Manley, Michael Beaudry, and Marco Perez, in their official capacities for monetary damages, for return of personal property, and for declaratory and injunctive relief, and also dismissing, because of statutory immunity, his claims against the defendants pursuant to General Statutes § 4-165."

"...There is no error.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=364

AC38155 - Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc. (Negligence; "In Barry v. Quality Steel Products Inc., 263 Conn. 424, 436–39, 820 A.2d 258 (2003), our Supreme Court abolished the use of the superseding cause doctrine in cases in which the conduct of the intervening actor was merely negligent. This appeal requires us to consider the vitality of the doctrine in circumstances in which the conduct of the intervening actor is criminally reckless. We conclude that the doctrine is alive and well in such cases.")

AC38173 - Stamatopoulos v. ECS North America, LLC (Conversion; "The plaintiff, Evangelos Stamatopoulos, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a bench trial, in favor of the defendant, ECS North America, LLC, on both of the plaintiff's claims for conversion and replevin. He claims that the court erroneously concluded that the defendant was a good faith purchaser of the subject property for value under the Uniform Commercial Code, General Statutes § 42a-1-101 et seq. We conclude, however, that this claim is moot because there is an independent, unchallenged ground upon which we may affirm the court's judgment for the defendant on both counts of the complaint. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=336

AC38297 - Ding v. Lazaro (Negligence; "The defendant state of Connecticut appeals from judgment of the trial court denying its motion to dismiss count three of the plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The defendant claims that the trial court improperly concluded that sovereign immunity did not deprive it of subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff's statutorily required notice of claim under the state highway defect statute, General Statutes § 13a-144, was not patently defective in its description of the place of injury. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38826 - Jolley v. Vinton (Alleged deprivation of plaintiff's federal constitutional rights; "The plaintiff, Carlton Jolley, appeals to this court claiming that the trial court improperly granted the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants, Captain Brian Vinton and Attorney General George Jepsen, based on statutory and sovereign immunity. The defendants claim that the court correctly granted the motion to dismiss with respect to Jepsen, but concede that the court should not have granted the motion to dismiss with respect to Vinton. After a careful review of the briefs to this court and the record, and in light of the defendants' concession, we agree with the defendants.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=316

AC38488 - Weihing v. Preto-Rodas ("The plaintiff, Kristina Weihing, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendants, Robert J. Preto-Rodas and Margaret Preto-Rodas, in this action brought pursuant to General Statutes § 22-357. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) admitted photographs of the defendants' dog and (2) denied her motion to set aside the jury's verdict and for a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=300

AC38343 - Gordon v. Gordon (Fraud; "In this civil action, the plaintiff, Alan J. Gordon, appeals from the trial court's order granting summary judgment for the defendant, Carol Gordon, on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the three tort actions alleged in the plaintiff's complaint were barred by the applicable statute of limitations, General Statutes § 52-577. The plaintiff claims that the court committed plain error in granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment because the defendant had not properly pleaded the statute of limitations as a special defense, and, therefore, had waived her right to raise it as a ground for summary judgment. We affirm the judgment of the court. ")

AC38194 - Hammer v. Posta (Negligence; "The defendants, Dominic Posta and Leticia Posta, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the plaintiff, Edward Hammer. After rendering a default judgment against Leticia Posta for her failure to appear, the court found Dominic Posta liable to the plaintiff under General Statutes § 22-357 for injuries caused by the defendants' dog and awarded the plaintiff $30,910.30 in damages and court costs. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court improperly (1) denied the defendant's request for a jury trial, and (2) relied on the arguments of counsel rather than reviewing the medical records that had been admitted as evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=291

AC38370 - DeCastro v. Odetah Camping Resort, Inc. (Negligence; "In this wrongful death action, the plaintiff, Adelson Luiz DeCastro, the administrator of the estate of Jose Luiz DeCastro (decedent), appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court in accordance with its decision granting a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict filed by the defendant, Odetah Camping Resort, Inc. The decedent drowned while swimming in a lake abutting the defendant's resort. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in (1) applying the wrong legal standard for proximate cause; and (2) rendering judgment notwithstanding the verdict when the jury reasonably could have concluded that the defendant's negligence was a proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=282

AC37833 - Ventura v. East Haven (Negligence; "The defendant, the town of East Haven, appeals from the judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Thomas Ventura, after the jury returned a verdict awarding him damages for personal injuries he sustained when he was struck by a motor vehicle driven by a private individual, Vladimir Trnka. The jury concluded that the defendant was not immune from liability because, earlier in the evening on the day of the accident, East Haven police officer Jeffrey Strand, after investigating an unrelated domestic violence incident involving Trnka, had a clear ministerial duty to tow Trnka's vehicle on the basis of the vehicle's invalid registration and improper plates. The court denied the defendant's motions to direct or to set aside the verdict.

"On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred when it failed to (1) direct a verdict for the defendant on the basis of governmental immunity; (2) direct or set aside the verdict on the ground that the plaintiff had not produced sufficient evidence that Strand's alleged negligence actually or proximately caused the plaintiff's injuries; and (3) set aside the jury's verdict because the court admitted irrelevant and prejudicial testimony regarding Trnka's possible intoxication and agitation, and permitted the plaintiff's expert to testify about East Haven police procedures despite his having no special knowledge about them. We agree with the defendant's first claim and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=277

AC38036 - Law Offices of Frank N. Peluso, P.C. v. Rendahl (Tortious interference with business relationships; "The plaintiffs, Law Offices of Frank N. Peluso, P.C., and Frank Peluso, appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing their complaint against the defendant, Joy M. Rendahl, on the basis of absolute litigation immunity. We agree with the defendant that the plaintiffs' brief on appeal is inscrutable. Nonetheless, even if we were to read the plaintiffs' primary claim broadly, in the manner advanced at oral argument, i.e., as claiming that the defendant does not have absolute immunity or, alternatively, that we should abrogate any legal precedent affording the defendant absolute immunity, we conclude that the claim fails on the merits.")

AC38221 - Oliphant v. Heath (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Vorcelia Oliphant, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to open a judgment of nonsuit and denying her motion to reargue or reconsider the court's denial of her motion to open. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in denying her motions. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=274

AC38022 - Brown v. Njoku (Battery; "Following a trial to the court, the self-represented defendant, Edwin Njoku, appeals from the judgment rendered by the court in favor of the plaintiff, Suzette Brown. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) erred by failing 'to enter an appearance' for Christus Medical Group, P.C. (business), (2) abused its discretion by denying his request for a continuance, (3) improperly found that the plaintiff had sustained her burden of proof, and (4) denied him the right to due process and a fair trial by failing to let him participate in 'trial management' and to oppose a trial to the court. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=265

SC19310 - Bifolck v. Philip Morris, Inc. ("This case is the second of two diversity actions in which the federal courts certified questions for this court's advice regarding the viability of an action under Connecticut's Product Liability Act (act) alleging that a cigarette’s design had increased consumers' risk of cancer. The courts sought advice whether specific theories advanced in those actions are precluded by this court's adoption of § 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which imposes liability for defective products that are 'unreasonably dangerous,' and more particularly, our adoption of comment (i) to § 402A, which defines that term in relation to consumers' knowledge of the danger. In the first of these actions, this court advised that the strict liability theory advanced was not precluded because it required application of our modified consumer expectation test, under which the obviousness of the danger is only one of many factors that the trier of fact may consider. Izzarelli v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 321 Conn. 172, 177, 136 A.3d 1232 (2016).

In the present action, this court considers three substantive questions: (1) whether, for claims alleging design defects, we should abandon our dual tests based on § 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts and adopt the standards under the Restatement (Third) of Torts, Products Liability; (2) if not, whether § 402A and comment (i) provide a single, unitary definition for all theories under which product liability claims may be brought, including negligence; and (3) whether the punitive damages available in the act are limited to litigation costs under our common-law punitive damages rule. This court raised the first question; we accepted certification with respect to the second and third questions, pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199b (d), from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. See Bifolck v. Philip Morris, Inc., Docket No. 3:06cv1768 (SRU), 2014 WL 585325 (D. Conn. February 14, 2014).

For the reasons that follow, we decline at this time to adopt the Restatement (Third). Nonetheless, we are persuaded that modest refinements to our product liability tests under the Restatement (Second) will clarify the plaintiff's burden of proof in strict liability cases and provide a better guide to any necessity for adopting the Restatement (Third) or any other substantive change. We further conclude that, although all product liability claims require proof of a 'defective condition unreasonably dangerous' to the user or consumer, unreasonably dangerous is not determined by consumer expectations under comment (i) to § 402A when such a claim may be brought under a theory of negligence. Finally, we conclude that punitive damages under the act are not limited by the common-law rule. Accordingly, we answer both of the certified questions 'No.'"


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=250

AC37906 - Rivera v. CR Summer Hill, Ltd. Partnership (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Rose Rivera, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, CR Summer Hill, Limited Partnership, and Carabetta Property Management, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment because a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding whether the defendants had constructive notice of the inadequate lighting and the lack of a handrail that caused the plaintiff's alleged injuries. We agree and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=236

SC19461 - Blakely v. Danbury Hospital (Wrongful death; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether the lapse of a jurisdictional time limitation for commencing suit in a statutory cause of action gives a defendant immunity from suit, such that an interlocutory appeal would be permitted to challenge a decision concluding that the accidental failure of suit statute (savings statute), General Statutes § 52-592, saved an otherwise untimely action. We conclude that no immunity from suit arises under such circumstances. Consequently, a decision concluding that the savings statute permits a statutory cause of action subject to a jurisdictional time limitation to proceed cannot be the subject of an interlocutory appeal authorized under State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31, 463 A.2d 566 (1983).")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=232

AC37866 - Ford v. St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center (Personal injury; "The plaintiff, Jeffrey Ford, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendants, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center (hospital), Turner Construction Company, RJB Contracting, Inc., and R.J.B. Concrete Pumping, LLC. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) denied his motion to set aside the jury verdict, (2) failed to give the jury an instruction on res ipsa loquitur, (3) failed to adequately instruct the jury regarding the nondelegable duty owed to business invitees, (4) allowed evidence of an event that occurred subsequent to the incident at issue, and (5) denied his motion for a new trial although he demonstrated that the jury applied the wrong burden of proof. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



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